In this post, we return to the Commands of Yeshua series by looking at the character traits that Yeshua expects us to possess.
Character ~ Part A
“Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.” (Romans 13:14)
Our character matters to Yeshua. How we serve Yeshua and how we fulfill our duties as talmidim is determined by our character. A person with good character will faithfully serve Yeshua out of love and gratefulness. Those with poor character begrudgingly serve out of duty, obligation, or for personal gain, if they manage to serve at all. Yeshua is not so much concerned with what we do for Him as He is with the condition of our heart because that will determine our character. Yeshua said, “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit – figs aren’t picked from thorn bushes, nor grapes from a briar patch. The good person produces good things from the store of good in his heart, while the evil person produces evil things from the store of evil in his heart. For his mouth speaks what overflows from his heart.” (Luke 6:44-45) What we do needs to come out of who we are in Yeshua. Our actions demonstrate to others who has control over our life. It is no wonder many of Yeshua’s commands center on our character – who we are on the inside – because that most often determines what we will say and do.
God will place us in various situations to test our character and see if we are going to be faithful in small things before He places us in a situation with greater influence and impact. Character is often the single most determining factor of our usability in God’s hands.
Rabbi Sha’ul wrote, “I wrote for this purpose: to test your character to see if you are obedient in everything.” (2 Corinthians 2:9)
1. Walk in the Light
“Yeshua said to them, ‘The light will be with you only a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, or the dark will overtake you; he who walks in the dark doesn’t know where he’s going. While you have the light, put your trust in the light, so that you may become people of light.’ Yeshua said these things, then went off and kept himself hidden from them.” (Yochanan 12:35-36)
When we seek the Lord and allow His Spirit to guide our lives, He makes clear to us the dangers as well as the pathways for getting around impediments in life. This is similar to walking in truth or walking with Yeshua, allowing Him to guide our footsteps, decisions, commitments, and involvement in situations and in people’s lives. Walking in darkness always happens when we strike out on our own with little or no consideration for what God’s Spirit may be telling us.
Each of us is allotted a certain amount of time here on this earth. Our days are numbered, and not using our time wisely is foolishness and poor stewardship of a tremendous gift. How we use our days shows how grateful we are to the Giver of life. Yeshua’s days were also numbered on the earth, yet He was able to accomplish everything His Father had set before Him to accomplish. He could say upon the cross, “It is finished!” (Yochanan 19:30), knowing He had completed every last prophecy, every expectation, and every deed He had been sent from heaven to do.
The apostle Paul reminds us, “For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Walking in the light is to walk in the presence of the Lord, doing what He has prepared in advance for us to do, so that when we see Him face-to-face He will turn to us and say, “Well done, good and faithful slave!” (Matthew 25:23HCSB)
The second part of this command is also consistent with the first, as it encourages us to “trust in the light,” and in doing so, we “become people of the light.” When Yochanan introduces Yeshua to us in his Gospel, he points out that Yeshua is the light of men. “In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it.” (Yochanan 1:4-5) Yeshua’s command reveals that prior to Yeshua’s coming, there was only darkness. When Yeshua arrived, the light of the world also arrived. “Yeshua spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.’” (Yochanan 8:12)
Application: We have a choice in how we walk. We can choose to live in the light with purpose and God’s direction, or we can choose to remain in darkness without direction or purpose. The nature of darkness is to overtake you, to confuse, disorient, and prevent you from reaching your destination. The nature of light is to reveal truth, to show the way, to expose those things that are hidden, and to dispel fear. Yeshua’s command, if followed, allows us to avoid the pitfalls that await those walking in darkness. It not only gives us direction in life but also provides us with our identity as children of light. As we walk in the light, we are covered by the presence of Light and are protected from the evil one.
2. Shine Your Light
“In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
After we have learned to “walk in the light” and “trust in the light,” we are to let that light shine brightly through our lives for all to see. Yeshua explains, “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15) This command causes us to recognize that as we allow our light to shine, we draw attention to the source of that light, which is Yeshua. We also reveal the truth (Yeshua) for all to see. The light of the world is Yeshua in us. The hope for the world is Yeshua in us. Otherwise, all is darkness. Our light shines as the character of Yeshua is developed in us and as we reach out to others with the love of Yeshua.
Our light was meant to shine before men and before the world. To try to hide our light is to deny the purpose of light, and it countermands both Yeshua’s orders and His heart. He said, “As for me, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” (Yochanan 12:32). It has always been Yeshua’s intention to draw all people to Himself. Until He comes again, we are the means by which He will accomplish that end.
Application: What actions are you currently involved in that allows others to see Yeshua in you? Are you consciously shining the light of Yeshua’s love for others to see, or are you trying to fit in with the crowd, or not “make waves,” just trying to keep your head down and do your job without being noticed too much? We are not supposed to draw attention to ourselves; we are to let Yeshua draw attention to Himself through us as we live our lives with purpose and meaning in obedience to the Spirit within us. Don’t be surprised when people are drawn to Yeshua in you when you truly let Him shine brightly through your life.
Remember always the words of Yeshua: “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” (Yochanan 14:15)
In my next post, we will continue in this mini-series on the character traits that Yeshua expects us to possess by looking at being humble and merciful.